Polly BatesArt Graduate
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Through my artworks I explore the human impact on the world and question what it means to be human, reflecting on our relationship with both the natural world and technology. I use humour as a tool to explore the awkwardness of being human through pursuit of purpose and belonging, and the experience of living in a geological era shaped by humanity. My work is heavily influenced by scientific information and study into the Anthropocene. My current practice involves sculptures, digital paintings, animations and photographic images. These methods are used in isolation or combined into a singular work, merging physical objects within a digital environment.
I am a Fine Art 2020 graduate with experience exhibiting in Staffordshire, Manchester and London. My practice is sculptural, with influences of paintings, digital artworks, stop-frame animations and photography.
One of my greatest passions is combining personal and shared social, environmental and political anxieties within my practice. Artistic expression can help us to realise and reveal flaws in our society, whilst also allowing us to reinvent ways of living and imagine a future without those flaws. This belief is the driving force that lead me to create artist-led projects through my initiative called ARTISTS RESPONDING TO ….
After graduating from a Fine Art Degree in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, I found myself faced with the daunting challenge of a drastic lack in opportunities for artists nationwide. As exhibitions were cancelled and galleries were closing, I wanted to create a more digitised and accessible way of experiencing art. I had already at this point become frustrated with how Covid was overshadowing many other issues and paramount news that are equally important. I combined these ideas and frustrations in August 2020 by creating ARTISTS RESPONDING TO … Zine, a monthly publication which uses creative depictions and literature to highlight current world issues, news and movements that aren’t getting the attention that they deserve. A political and environmental platform to help ignite conversations and spread awareness through visual and written poetic responses.
ARTISTS RESPONDING TO … Zine includes an eclectic range of fine art and literature, from drawings, paintings, sculptures, digital art, photography, essays, poems, and much, much more! ARTISTS RESPONDING TO … accepts international submissions that are creative responses to current monthly news. The Zine has become a space for activism but also a form of information. I am proud to provide a space for critical discussion and reflection, whilst also creating opportunities for artists, like myself, to share and celebrate their work.
Since creating the monthly Zine at ARTISTS RESPONDING TO … I have also initiated The Postcard Project, where I sent 200 postcards across the UK to 200 artists and invited them to create an artwork responding to the turbulent year that has been 2020. I have since curated these postcards into a book which is available to purchase in our shop, and I am currently organising an exhibition to showcase the postcards involved in the project.
I thoroughly enjoy working as both an artist and curator and believe a healthy balance of making and curating feeds into the work I produce, and the support I can provide to my exhibiting artists.
2017-20 BA (Hons) Fine Art, Staffordshire University, Stoke-on-Trent.
2016-17 Foundation in Art & Design, Staffordshire University, Stoke-on-Trent.
2015-16 A Level Art, Craft and Design, Dame Alice Owens School, Potters Bar.
The use of dark humour draws on a complex human response, which I use to address sociocultural contexts and inconvenient truths. This contrast of using humour to deliver daunting and significant current issues allows me to approach the difficult subject matter directly, utilising it throughout my practice with the intention to reveal shared social, environmental and political anxieties.
There is a focus on figurative forms responding to experience of contemporary life.
I am interested in creating unnerving, odd pieces which typically have an underlying sadness to them. My practice includes interdisciplinary content which is heavily influenced by scientific information and study into the Anthropocene, as I explore the human impact on the world through the typical Western society’s self-proclaimed hierarchy against nature.
Founder and Curator of ARTISTS RESPONDING TO …